The Line Between Reality & Dreams – My Namibian Safari (Day 1)

Elephant in Namibia

I use to imagine wild adventures and exotic trips to far off lands like they were fantastical, only possible in a dreamland. But why do things need to be so out of reach? An African safari is the number one item listed on bucket lists around the world yet it remains there like something unattainable. Only if…. Well, I understand. It kept showing up on my list too but this year, this week, today, I was able to make it happen. I’m in Namibia on an African safari thanks to Namibia Tourism and ATI Holidays. For the last three days, I explored Etosha National Park on a self-drive safari. After years of dreaming, imagining, and envisioning an African safari, I still wasn’t prepared for what was to come. Endless herds of wild animals crossed the dirt road as if I was part of the group. Animals that I’ve never seen outside of cages roamed free and showed their true colors in their natural habitat. Around every turn and behind every bush, something was alive. I was alive, and awake, and actually part of it. Every emotion bubbled to the surface like a boiling pot. This was Africa! This was real, but this was my dream!

We first entered the park in the late afternoon. There was only an hour to explore but the animals were out and posing for the camera. As soon as we entered the gate, a massive black rhino was waiting for us. I snapped picture after picture, not believing my eyes. It didn’t seem real. It was within 20 feet. I became acutely aware of my setting, put down the camera, and took it all in. No matter how long I live, I will always remember those first few moments. Not only was a looking at a rare black rhino, but anything could happen. I was in the wild.

Black-Rhino,-Etosha-National-Park

When a huge elephant appeared to my right, I was dumbfounded. I kept saying, “I can’t believe he’s right there.” I wanted, not more than my life, to open to door and walk over to that magnificent creature. It was all so real yet so surreal at the same time. He moved gracefully through he’s natural environment and grabbed a mouthful of leaves as he walked. I wanted him to approach the car. It felt like I could will it, but wild animals have a mind of their own. There was no controlling that guy; he was free.

Elephant in Etosha National Park

We only had time to stop at one water hole that evening but we saw other elephant, dozens of springbok and impala, several zebras, and two jackals.

Elephant in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Herds at Etosha National Park

Safari in Etosha National Park

Jackal at Etosha National Park

Zebra Etosha National Park, Namibia

Respecting the park’s time restrictions, we had to call it an evening. The sun was setting as we drove away and an elephant roamed in the tall, distant grass.

Elephant at sunset at Etosha National Park

Every day continued to get better and better, but you’ll have to wait for one day at a time. There’s just too much to tell!

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42 thoughts on “The Line Between Reality & Dreams – My Namibian Safari (Day 1)

      • So hard to pick just one. Cheetahs hunting on the Maasai Mara- 3 brothers. A leopard cleaning itself in both Aberdare National Forest and Lake Nakuru. So lucky to see. Lions, lions, lions. Both white and black rhinos. Two jackals playing a game of chicken with the biggest python both myself and our guide had ever seen on the Mara. Wildebeast migrating. A herd of 12 elephants emerging from the jungle down a slope, grey heads slowly popping up out of the greenery. The list is just endless. But. My favorite? The leopard took my breath away. He really did. Such beauty there. I have goosebumps writing about it now. 🙂

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  1. What fantastic colors! Such beautiful creatures…you are lucky to see them as the elephant population will continue to diminish as long as their is a demand for their ivory. My thoughts go out to Satao and all other elephants who have died in mankind’s vain.

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  2. I will never cease to appreciate that we in South Africa get more opportunities to experience this than most people around the world. Not everyone here, because of social and financial circumstances, but many of us are very, very lucky in this respect. I count myself among those. I hope that every experience that you have, leads to a greater awareness of the threat to African wildlife, particularly the rhino and the elephant. 80% of the worlds rhino population is in Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia & Swaziland), but is constantly under threat from poaching, mainly owing to an ill-conceived idea in the east (China, Vietnam & others) that rhino horn has some strange medicinal value.

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  3. The pictures are amazing. This is so well written. I feel I am there with you (wish that I were). Can’t wait for more.

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  4. African Safari has gone to my bucket list after seeing these pictures ! They’re amazing! The zebras look unreal. This has to be done at least once in a lifetime ! I’m pretty sure you’d agree?!

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  5. I saw a fair share of elephants and rhinos during my 4 months in Nepal, and I couldn’t agree with you more about the awe and excitement that these creatures elicit; just breathtaking to watch them plod along in the wild. I too couldn’t believe how close I was… Beautiful photos, Lesley!

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  8. I used to be a member of the British Army, I was lucky enough to spend 4 months on a training exercise out in Kenya. Some of the wildlife I saw out there was absolutely amazing, waking up to a heard of giraffes just grazing on the surrounding trees to seeing a herd of elephants with there young. Amazing place to visit. 🙂

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